17 October 2007

Letting Go of Fear

Fear blocks our ability to “just be” in the world. Working with and understanding fear and the role it plays in one’s life is almost always a part of the counseling or therapeutic process. Often, when the issues at hand become less pressing, it is discovered that underneath stress, anger, depression, etc. is fear in its many forms.

We live in a society and culture that is in many ways based on fear. We fear others, fear death, fear poverty, fear ridicule, and on and on. We take for granted that the movement of fear is leading us to safety, and thus don’t question it until it stops being useful and we really see how harmful it is. For example, when we are having relationship problems or struggling to take a test, etc. we really see that fear is making things worse, not better.

The opposite of fear is faith. Faith is a loaded word in these times, but what does it really mean when used in this context? Faith, used in this way, describes a presence within, an inner knowing that is not fear or worry based on past experiences. It is the faith that if we do what feels right to us in our heart, and don’t act from fear, our life will be as it needs to be. Faith is seeing the inherent emptiness of fear. Fear wants us to believe in it, but what does it truly know?

We all have a center that does know, that cares about others and the world around us, that will take care of us as we need to be taken care of. When we lose that we turn to fear in order to feel secure. By taking time to just be in the moment, and to recognize the flavor of fear, we see that allowing fear to rule our lives creates less, not more, safety. When we seek to love our fellow man, we discover that fear is trying to protect us from that same person. When we find the strength within that does not need to be afraid, love springs forth, and with it, a new way of being in the world.
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